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“Hard-favour'd tyrant, ugly, meagre, lean, By this, far off she hears some huntsman hollo; Hateful divorce of love," thus chides she A nurse's song ne'er pleased her babe so well: Death,

The dire imagination she did follow “Grim-grinning ghost, earth's worm, what dost This sound of hope doth labour to expel; thou mean

For now reviving joy bids her rejoice, To stifle beauty and to steal his breath,

And flatters her it is Adonis' voice. Who when he lived, his breath and beauty set

Whereat her tears began to turn their tide, Gloss on the rose, smell to the violet ?

Being prison'd in her eye like pearls in glass; 980

Yet sometimes falls an orient drop beside, “If he be dead, — O no, it cannot be,

Which her cheek melts, as scorning it should pass, Seeing his beauty, thou shouldst strike at it: To wash the foul face of the sluttish ground, O yes, it may; thou hast no eyes to see,

Who is but drunken when she seemeth drown'd. But hatefully at random dost thou hit.

940 Thy mark is feeble age, but thy false dart O hard-believing love, how strange it seems Mistakes that aim and cleaves an infant's heart. Not to believe, and yet too credulous !

Thy weal and woe are both of them extremes; “Hadst thou but bid beware, then he had spoke, Despair and hope makes thee ridiculous: And, hearing him, thy power had lost his power. The one doth flatter thee in thoughts unlikely, The Destinies will curse thee for this stroke; In likely thoughts the other kills thee quickly. They bid thee crop a weed, thou pluck'st a flower:

Love's golden arrow at him should have fled, Now she unweaves the web that she hath wrought; And not Death's ebon dart, to strike him Adonis lives, and Death is not to blame; 992 dead.

It was not she that call'd him all-to naught:

Now she adds honours to his hateful name; “Dost thou drink tears, that thou provokest such She clepes him king of graves and grave for weeping ?

kings, What may a heavy groan advantage thee?


Imperious supreme of all mortal things.
Why hast thou cast into eternal sleeping
Those eyes that taught all other eyes to see? “No, no," quoth she, “sweet Death, I did but jest;

Now Nature cares not for thy mortal vigour, Yet pardon me I felt a kind of fear
Since her best work is ruin'd with thy rigour." When-as I met the boar, that bloody beast,

Which knows no pity, but is still severe;
Here overcome, as one full of despair,

Then, gentle shadow, — truth I must confess, – She vail'd her eyelids, who, like sluices, stopt I rail'd on thee, fearing my love's decease. The crystal tide that from her two cheeks fair In the sweet channel of her bosom dropt;

“'Tis not my fault: the boar provoked my tongue; But through the flood-gates breaks the silver Be wreak'd on him, invisible commander; rain,

959 'Tis he, foul creature, that hath done thee wrong; And with his strong course opens them again. I did but act, he's author of thy slander;

Grief hath two tongues, and never woman yet O, how her eyes and tears did lend and borrow! Could rule them both without ten women's wit." Her eyes seen in the tears, tears in her eye; Both crystals, where they view'd each other's Thus hoping that Adonis is alive, sorrow,

Her rash suspect she doth extenuate; Sorrow that friendly sighs sought still to dry; And that his beauty may the better thrive,

But like a stormy day, now wind, now rain, With Death she humbly doth insinuate; Sighs dry her cheeks, tears make them wet Tells him of trophies, statues, tombs, and stories; again.

His victories, his triumphs, and his glories.



Variable passions throng her constant woe,
As striving who should best become her grief;
All entertain'd, each passion labours so,
That every present sorrow seemeth chief, 970

But none is best: then join they all together,
Like many clouds consulting for foul weather.

“O Jove," quoth she, “how much a fool was I
To be of such a weak and silly mind
To wail his death who lives and must not die
Till mutual overthrow of mortal kind!

For he being dead, with him is beauty slain,
And, beauty dead, black chaos comes again.

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“When he beheld his shadow in the brook,
The fishes spread on it their golden gills;
When he was by, the birds such pleasure took,
That some would sing some other in their bills


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Thus weary of the world, away she hies, 1189
And yokes her silver doves; by whose swift aid
Their mistress mounted through the empty skies
In her light chariot quickly is convey'd;
Holding their course to Paphos, where their

Means to immure herself and not be seen.


But now the mindful messenger, come back,
Brings home his lord and other company;
Who finds his Lucrece clad in mourning black:
And round about her tear-distained eye
Blue circles stream'd, like rainbows in the sky:

These water-galls in her dim element
Foretell new storms to those already spent.

By foul enforcement might be done to me,

From that, alas, thy Lucrece is not free.
“For in the dreadful dead of dark midnight,
With shining falchion in my chamber came
A creeping creature, with a flaming light,
And softly cried ‘Awake, thou Roman dame,
And entertain my love; else lasting shame

On thee and thine this night I will inflict, 1630

If thou my love's desire do contradict. "'For some hard-favour'd groom of thine,' quoth

he, *Unless thou yoke thy liking to my will, I'll murder straight, and then I'll slaughter thee And swear I found you where you did fulfil The loathsome act of lust, and so did kill

The lechers ir their deed: this act will be

My fame and thy perpetual infamy.'
"With this, I did begin to start and cry;
And then against my heart he sets his sword,
Swearing, unless I took all patiently, 1641
I should not live to speak another word;
So should my shame still rest upon record,

And never be forgot in mighty Rome
Th' adulterate death of Lucrece and her groom.

Which when her sad-beholding husband saw,
Amazedly in her sad face he stares:

Her eyes, though sod in tears, look'd red and raw,
Her lively colour kill'd with deadly cares.
He hath no power to ask her how she fares:

Both stood, like old acquaintance in a trance, Met far from home, wondering each other's


At last he takes her by the bloodless hand,
And thus begins: “What uncouth ill event
Hath thee befall'n, that thou dost trembling stand ?
Sweet love, what spite hath thy fair colour spent?
Why art thou thus attired in discontent? 1601

Unmask, dear dear, this moody heaviness,
And tell thy grief, that we may give redress.”

“Mine enemy was strong, my poor self weak,
And far the weaker with so strong a fear:
My bloody judge forbade my tongue to speak;
No rightful plea might plead for justice there:
His scarlet lust came evidence to swear 1650

That my poor beauty had purloin'd his eyes;

And when the judge is robb'd the prisoner dies.
“O, teach me how to make mine own excuse !
Or at the least this refuge let me find;
Though my gross blood be stain'd with this abuse,
Immaculate and spotless is my mind;
That was not forced; that never was inclined

To accessary yieldings, but still pure
Doth in her poison'd closet yet endure.”

Three times with sighs she gives her sorrow fire,
Ere once she can discharge one word of woe:
At length address'd to answer his desire,
She modestly prepares to let them know
Her honour is ta'en prisoner by the foe;

While Collatine and his consorted lords
With sad attention long to hear her words.

And now this pale swan in her watery nest 1611
Begins the sad dirge of her certain ending;
“Few words," quoth she, “shall fit the trespass best,
Where no excuse can give the fault amending:
In me moe woes than words are now depending;

And my laments would be drawn out too long,
To tell them all with one poor tired tongue.

Lo, here, the hopeless merchant of this loss, 1660
With head declined, and voice damm'd up with

With sad set eyes, and wretched arms across,
From lips new-waxen pale begins to blow
The grief away that stops his answer so:

But, wretched as he is, he strives in vain;
What he breathes out his breath drinks up again.

“Then be this all the task it hath to say:
Dear husband, in the interest of thy bed
A stranger came, and on that pillow lay 1620
Where thou wast wont to rest thy weary head;
And what wrong else may be imagined

As through an arch the violent roaring tide
Outruns the eye that doth behold his haste,
Yet in the eddy boundeth in his pride 1669
Back to the strait that forced him on so fast;
In rage sent out, recall'd in rage, being past:

Even so his sighs, his sorrows, make a saw,

To push grief on, and back the same grief draw. Which speechless woe of his poor she attendeth, And his untimely frenzy thus awaketh: “Dear lord, thy sorrow to my sorrow lendeth Another power; no flood by raining slaketh. My woe too sensible thy passion maketh

More feeling-painful: let it then suffice 1679

To drown one woe, one pair of weeping eyes. “And for my sake, when I might charm thee so For she that was thy Lucrece, now attend me: Be suddenly revenged on my foe, Thine, mine, his own: suppose thou dost defend

But more than "he" her poor tongue could not

speak; Till after many accents and delays, Untimely breathings, sick and short assays, 1720

She utters this, “He, he, fair lords, 'tis he,

That guides this hand to give this wound to me.” Even here she sheathed in her harmless breast A harmful knife, that thence her soul unsheathed: That blow did bail it from the deep unrest Of that polluted prison where it breathed: Her contrite sighs unto the clouds bequeathed Her winged sprite, and through her wounds

doth fly Life's lasting date from cancell'd destiny::


From what is past: the help that thou shalt lend


Comes all too late, yet let the traitor die; For sparing justice feeds iniquity.

“But ere I name him, you fair lords," quoth she, Speaking to those that came with Collatine, “Shall plight your honourable faiths to me, 1690 With swift pursuit to venge this wrong of mine; For 'tis a meritorious fair design

To chase injustice with revengeful arms: Knights, by their oaths, should right poor ladies'


FROM A LOVER'S COMPLAINT “Yet did I not, as some my equals did, Demand of him, nor being desired yielded; Finding myself in honour so forbid,

150 With safest distance I mine honour shielded: Experience for me many bulwarks builded Of proofs new-bleeding, which remain'd the foil Of this false jewel, and his amorous spoil. “But, ah, who ever shunn'd by precedent The destined ill she must herself assay? Or forced examples, 'gainst her own content, To put the by-past perils in her way? Counsel may stop awhile what will not stay; For when we rage, advice is often seen

160 By blunting us to make our wits more keen.

At this request, with noble disposition
Each present lord began to promise aid,
As bound in knighthood to her imposition,
Longing to hear the hateful foe bewray'd.
But she, that yet her sad task hath not said, 1699

The protestation stops. “O, speak,” quoth she,

“How may this forced stain be wiped from me? “What is the quality of mine offence, Being constrain'd with dreadful circumstance? May my pure mind with the foul act dispense, My low-declined honour to advance? May any terms acquit me from this chance ?

The poison'd fountain clears itself again;
And why not I from this compelled stain ?”

“Nor gives it satisfaction to our blood,
That we must curb it upon others' proof:
To be forbod the sweets that seem so good,
For fear of harms that preach in our behoof.
O appetite, from judgement stand aloof!
The one a palate hath that needs will taste,
Though Reason weep, and cry ‘It is thy last.'
“For further I could say “This man's untrue,'
And knew the patterns of his foul beguiling; 170
Heard where his plants in others' orchards grew,
Saw how deceits were gilded in his smiling;
Knew vows were ever brokers to defiling;
Thought characters and words merely but art,
And bastards of his foul adulterate heart.

With this, they all at once began to say,
Her body's stain her mind untainted clears; 1710
While with a joyless smile she turns away
The face, that map which deep impression bears
Of hard misfortune, carved in it with tears.

“No, no," quoth she," no dame, hereafter living,

By my excuse shall claim excuse's giving." Here with a sigh, as if her heart would break, She throws forth Tarquin's name: "He, he," she


"And long upon these terms I held my city,
Till thus he gan besiege me: 'Gentle maid,
Have of my suffering youth some feeling pity,
And be not of my holy vows afraid:
That's to ye sworn to none was ever said; 180
For feasts of love I have been callid unto,
Till now did ne'er invite, nor never woo.

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